Security Most Important Factor In DRC Ebola Outbreak, Health Minister Says, Calls For Regulatory Approval Of Merck Vaccine; WHO Appoints Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator

Al Jazeera: Fears of Ebola pandemic if violent attacks continue in DR Congo
“Health officials have warned that the second-deadliest outbreak of Ebola may spiral out of control unless attacks by armed groups on medical facilities and workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) stop…” (Bibbo, 5/22).

Reuters: U.N. creates new Ebola chief role to tackle security, political issues in Congo
“The United Nations named an Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator on Thursday, creating a new position to boost efforts to contain a 10-month epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has killed more than 1,200 people. … David Gressly, currently deputy chief of the U.N.’s MONUSCO peacekeeping mission in Congo, has been appointed to the new post, the statement said…” (Nebehay, 5/23).

Reuters: Congo wants more use of Merck vaccine rather than J&J newcomer: minister
“Democratic Republic of Congo called on Wednesday for Merck’s experimental Ebola vaccine to be fully licensed to facilitate its use in the Ebola-hit country, while saying Johnson & Johnson’s rival [experimental vaccine] would complicate matters. … ‘It would perturb the population to be faced with several different types of vaccines and that would muddle the message, and, as you know in a complex outbreak response, the message needs to be simple and clear,’ [Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga] said…” (Miles, 5/22).

Additional coverage of the DRC Ebola outbreak and response is available from CBS News and CIDRAP News.